Jones Act

The Jones Act is federal legislation that protects American workers injured at sea. Also referred to as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, this law allows qualifying sailors who have been involved in accidents or become sick while performing their duties to recover compensation from their employers.

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  • Commercial Fisherman and the Jones Act

    Many in the commercial fishing industry are prone to a high frequency of injuries and even death. The most common causes of injury and fatalities on commercial fishing vessels occur due to falling overboard, drowning, hypothermia, and equipment malfunctions. Most fishermen don’t realize that the Jones Act covers them when they suffer injuries at sea. Fishermen and other seamen that suffer injuries at sea are not covered by the traditional workers’ compensation laws.

  • Suing Owners of Vessels and Limited Liability

    Under the Jones Act, an individual who suffers injuries while working at sea is entitled to sue the employer and owner of the vessel for injuries that are the result of negligence. The individual working at sea is called a “seaman” and individuals who are crew members to captains of vessels fall into this category. Even part-time seamen who spend 30 percent of their time at sea qualify under the act. There are multiple ways where vessel owners will try to limit their liability.

  • Proving Negligence for Seaman Injuries Under the Jones Act

    Individuals who work at sea are considered seamen for the purposes of the Jones Act. These individuals must spend a significant amount of the time they are employed at sea working on a vessel or boat. The Jones Act is a federal law, passed in 1920 that gives seamen, from crew members to captains, who suffer injuries or even death the right to sue their employers for damages under state or federal law.

  • When Can an Injured Seaman Recover Money Damages Under the Jones Act?

    A seaman may be entitled to money damages in a maritime accident. The Jones Act, found at 46 U.S.C.A. §688 (46 U.S.C. 30104), allows for a seaman to recover for injuries suffered during the course of his employment while at sea. The family of a seaman who is killed during the course of his employment may also file a suit under the Jones Act. Whether the injured party is able to recover will depend upon the actions of the those who control the ship.

  • Can You be a "Seaman" and Covered under LHWCA at the Same Time?

    In Maritime law, I have personally witnessed crew members of a vessel receiving benefits under the LHWCA while seeking a lawyer for maintenance and cure under the Jones Act. Many lawyers incorrectly assume classification as a "Longshore Harbor Worker" excludes "Seaman" status under the Jones Act. While this would seem a logical inference, logic does not live in a vacuum. With changing circumstances, an inference can change.

  • New 5th Circuit Case Affects Rights of Seaman Injured while at Sea

    Maintenance and cure are damages that have been recognized in Admiralty law for hundreds of years. Maintenance and cure damages allow for support of a seaman who was injured or falls ill while at sea. The support must be paid by the employer. What happens if the seaman falsely reported that he had no pre-existing injuries to his employer on his job application? Can the employer seek restitution for money paid for injuries the seaman failed to disclose? This article addresses these questions.

  • Questions about Admiralty or Maritime Law

    Learn if you qualify for Admiralty or Maritime Law if you have been injured while serving upon a boat in navigable waters.

  • Cruise Ship Claims

    A vacation aboard a cruise ship can be a memorable experience, an affordable, all-inclusive vacation option, and a great way to see exotic ports of call. But, what happens when something goes wrong and your memories end up being of sickness, injury, inadequate medical care, fire, being stranded, crime, or even the wrongful death of a loved one?

  • Difference between Jones Act and Workers’ Compensation Claim

    Workers’ compensation and Jones Act maritime injury claims are very different. The only similarity is that they provide compensation for injured employees.

  • Settling a Jones Act Claim Out of Court

    There are times when settling a Jones Act claim out of court may lead to more compensation and ultimately be the best option for an injured maritime worker.

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